Yamaha is an absolutely huge brand name in the world of music and music equipment, and they manufacture a lot of different digital pianos. Their brand started manufacturing acoustic pianos, but the shift to digital pianos has been very successful in recent decades, and their range is huge, featuring a lot of different styles of console piano, stage piano, and portable piano.
In this guide, we discuss the best digital pianos offered by the brand, what makes them such high-quality and why Yamaha is arguably the very best brand when it comes to both keyboard and digital pianos.
Table of Contents
- 1 In a hurry? Here are our top picks..
- 2 Best Yamaha Digital Piano Reviews
- 2.1 1. Yamaha YDP184R Arius Series Console Digital Piano with Bench – Best Overall
- 2.2 2. Yamaha P71 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano – Best Stage Digital Piano
- 2.3 3. Yamaha DGX660B 88-Key Weighted Digital Piano – Best for Singer-Songwriters
- 2.4 4. Yamaha YPG535 Portable Grand Piano – Best Piano/Sequencer
- 2.5 5. Yamaha P125 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano – Versatile Digital Piano
- 2.6 6. Yamaha NP12 61-Key Lightweight Portable Keyboard – 61 Key Option
- 3 Conclusion
In a hurry? Here are our top picks..
Yamaha and Casio are like the Apple and Samsung of digital pianos. They have absolutely huge ranges and the products are bought all over the world. We would say that Yamaha has a slightly bigger range, and its features are impressive. If you want to choose a brand that gives you the most choice as a consumer, Yamaha is a good option.
Yamaha also draws on their decades of acoustic piano designs and the fact that they can use their other instruments as sampled sounds to include on their digital pianos, giving a lot of flexibility and fantastic, high-fidelity sounds.
You don’t have to go for Yamaha, but their sound engine is fantastic, the piano sounds they offer are very high fidelity and their range tends to be very well-reviewed. It can be slightly more expensive than some of the other brands, but you are paying for quality. We review plenty of options from other brands in some of our other guides on the site.
Pure CF Sound Engine
The Pure CF sound engine is one of the biggest selling points for the best Yamaha keyboards and digital pianos. The sound engine is what is actually generating the audio that is triggered when you strike the keys and it is vital that you find an option with a good sound engine in order to create the tone you are looking for.
Many of the Yamaha digital pianos can call upon the classical grand piano models in the range, and these are used by Yamaha to create “AWM stereo sampling”. This means a detailed stereo sound recording of an acoustic piano that sounds an awful lot like an acoustic, especially when played through high-quality speakers.
The Pure CF sound engine is one of the best sound engines on the market, and finding a Yamaha keyboard or piano with this on offer means that you can get a realistic sound.
Other Tones and “Voices”
Most digital piano models focus a lot more on the quality of the voices than the quantity. Some Yamaha keyboards have 400 tones on them, but a Yamaha digital piano is more likely to just have 10 or so. This is absolutely fine. The 400 tones of a keyboard are not likely to be ultra high-quality and aren’t the sort of sounds you would use in a professional setting. Instead, they are more of a chance to experiment.
A digital piano might have some other sounds you can experiment with and these tend to be very high quality and clarity. For example, they might have strings, organ sounds and a few classic electric pianos such as “Rhodes” style sounds.
It is standard for a digital piano to have 88-keys. This is modeled on an acoustic piano, which would traditionally have this number of keys. The keys on all of the Yamaha digital options are designed to be the same size as the keys on an acoustic, too. It should be easy enough to switch from playing in an acoustic setting to your digital piano and not have too much of an adjustment period.
Another feature to look out for when it comes to the keys of a piano is whether they have a weighted action such as a graded hammer action. Most of the very best Yamaha digital models are made with graded hammer standard or “GHS” functionality. This means that they replicate the feel of acoustic piano keys, which use tiny hammers to generate the sound. This helps to keep the action needed to trigger the sound the same as it would be on any other piano, such as a grand piano. The graded hammer system also means that as the keys get lower, they get heavier to the touch, just like an “old-fashioned” piano would.
Stage Piano vs Console Piano
You will find that some of the pianos on the list are more lightweight and compact, and don’t look like an upright piano you would have sat in one position in the house. They have more of a keyboard feel to them, and you can instantly see that it is an electronic piano rather than an acoustic.
Console pianos usually come with furniture stands so you can keep them in one place in the home. They’re heavier, but also sturdy and they look great. You could easily mistake one for an acoustic upright in the home.
Before making a decision on stage vs console, it is important to think about portability. Do you need to store your digital piano away from where you will mainly be playing it? Is it important to you that you can take it out to shows easily or even just to band practice?
The pedals at the bottom of a piano allow you to alter the sound, and play in different modes such as a sustain pedal to make the notes ring out for longer. Some digital pianos come with a full set of pedals, these are often console pianos. Other, more portable digital pianos and keyboards may even have an input for pedals, but they might not have the actual pedal included.
These aren’t essential for beginners but it is good to know that you have the option to play with pedals, so it is a bonus if they are included. If you are a concert pianist you might need to get a Yamaha piano with a full set of pedals.
Other Tech Features and Connectivity
We live in a time when all music equipment is made with some sort of connectivity in mind. You need to think about whether or not you need to be able to connect to other devices, or whether your piano will become the central point of a studio. Most digital pianos are USB-MIDI compatible, so you can use your Yamaha digital piano to control other music software, for example, a DAW.
Best Yamaha Digital Piano Reviews
1. Yamaha YDP184R Arius Series Console Digital Piano with Bench – Best Overall
A quick glance at this digital piano and you could be forgiven for confusing it with an acoustic piano model sitting in someone’s home. It’s a console piano that comes with the stand you need as well as a bench and a very luxurious finish with dark wood making it look like an upright piano. We’ve named it the best overall not only because of this, but due to the fact that it has some fantastic tech features and an amazing sound.
This has a CFX premium Grand Piano voice, which is modeled around the tone of Yamaha’s own grand piano, the CFX. It has a graded hammer action and the keys are even made of a material designed to mimic ivory and stop your fingers from slipping around, it has a sort of moisture-wicking effect.
Further adding to the sound quality is the VRM, which stands for Virtual Resonance Modeling. You can alter the sound and sort of place it in a virtual “space” that gives different resonance and overall sound. If all of this sounds like you will end up with loads to control, don’t worry too much. The LCD display is fairly easy to navigate.
If you want something to sit in your home and be used regularly for practice and performance, or to for the central point of a home studio, this could be the ideal digital piano for you. It has an acoustic look and feel to it that might be exactly what you are going for. If portability isn’t top of your list of priorities then the YDP184 has very little in the way of a downside.
2. Yamaha P71 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano – Best Stage Digital Piano
If you are looking for Yamaha digital pianos that can be taken out and about with you, then it is well worth looking at the P71. This is an Amazon exclusive and is sold elsewhere under the name P45. The two models are identical, so you shouldn’t be worried about choosing between the two, instead, just go for the digital piano that has the best price point out of the two.
As well as being portable, this model has some really professional features and should not be discounted as just being a portable Yamaha keyboard. If you buy the P71, the Amazon exclusive, it comes with a free sustain pedal and power adapter, too.
There are 88 weighted keys, and though these don’t feel as much like an acoustic piano as some of the other options, it is not a big adjustment to make, and the keys still allow for expression and the replication of the feel of touching piano keys harder.
As usual, there’s a Pure CF sound engine which contains 10 different voices, including the amazing grand piano sound that really sets Yamaha digital pianos apart. It’s USB-MIDI compatible so you can effectively use it as a MIDI keyboard if you want, and the 10 voices can also be layered and split in different ways. Dual mode means you can play one sound with your left hand and another with your right.
The slim design is definitely what draws a lot of people to the P71. It’s ideal for taking to shows as it weighs just 25 lbs.
If you are a touring musician or someone who wants to prioritize taking their instrument out and about with them then this could be the one for you. The P71 and P45 are great portable piano options and still give a full range of expression and dynamics with the weighted action they provide.
3. Yamaha DGX660B 88-Key Weighted Digital Piano – Best for Singer-Songwriters
The Yamaha DGX660 is a fantastic option for a lot of reasons, and we’ve named it as the best for songwriters, even if you are a singer/songwriter it can cater for you, with lots of technical functions. This feels like one of the more modern digital pianos due to the onboard tech.
Like a lot of the other choices, it has a GHS weighted keyboard, which is lighter in the high end to replicate a concert grand or other piano. It also has a concert grand piano sound and the Pure CF engine that makes the Yamaha pianos sound fantastic.
There is a 1/4 inch microphone input, this means that people can sing along with their piano playing and have a mic setup way more easily than doing this via a mixer, for example. This is one of many tech features. There is also wireless MIDI and audio streaming to use with your iOS device. Some other software and hardware still need to catch up with these functions, but it is good to have the option.
For songwriting and recording ideas, you can use the USB audio recording function, which takes the sound directly from your piano and records onto a USB drive for playback or even to load on your computer and start to edit. There is an LCD screen for learners, so you can see the sheet music for a song while you are playing in some scenarios.
This is a really great option for those who want the best tech features from their piano. It’s easily compatible with other hardware and software and while some of the functions are a bit tough to get to grips with, it isn’t too painful, even for beginners.
4. Yamaha YPG535 Portable Grand Piano – Best Piano/Sequencer
This is a digital piano that feels a little older than some of the other options. However, it shouldn’t be discounted just for this reason, and it has some pretty good features, especially if you want your piano to be flexible when it comes to writing songs.
Yamaha designed this to have an onboard sequencer, this means that you can record and playback music you are making on the keyboard. You could lay down multiple instrument tracks within this sequencer and use this as the start of your newest composition.
There are 88-keys designed around the concert grand, but the graded soft touch is a slightly different weighted action to the other products on the list. The voices are pretty good, with the “Yamaha XGlite/GM” sound engine driving some very realistic piano sounds.
The music database onboard has been designed for loading sounds based on the song title, compatible with over 250 different songs. There are also a lot more voices than some of the other models, with 361 XGlite voices in total. Some of them sound very 80’s and retro, but it is nice to have such a wide variety to choose from.
Generally, this digital grand piano feels a little bit dated, but not overly. It is more than good enough for most of our needs and those who want a sequencer included so they can sit and work out new compositions, layering up new sounds, can find the portable grand piano very useful.
5. Yamaha P125 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano – Versatile Digital Piano
The next product on our list is the P125, which has been named as the most versatile. You can buy this particular piano as a variety of different bundles, some of which include a stand and turn it into something a little more like a console piano, whereas others keep it as a portable option that can go out and about with you.
It has a pretty faithful reproduction of full-size, GHS piano keys, and the action is as good as most of the other models in the Yamaha range. It also features the Pure CF sound engine which is so good for creating realistic piano sounds.
There are some good tech features as you would expect, with USB to host connections for sending both MIDI and audio to your DAW or other music software. You can also make use of different playing modes such as split mode, where you can control a different sound with each hand.
The design of this digital piano is definitely one of the best things about it, it feels very elegant and well-built. It also has the benefit of being able to flex to your needs to some extent. You can buy a bundle with pedals if needed, or a furniture stand, or a portable stand. The P125 can be whatever you need it to be as a pianist.
6. Yamaha NP12 61-Key Lightweight Portable Keyboard – 61 Key Option
Whether this counts as a Yamaha digital piano or is just one of the best Yamaha keyboards is up for debate, but it definitely has the look and feel of a digital piano rather than a Yamaha keyboard. We wanted to include something on the list that is more small and compact as some people will find it harder to be able to store their instrument and want something more portable.
The Yamaha NP12 can actually be bought in 61-key or 76-key configurations so you can choose that which best suits your own playing. It feels less like an acoustic piano than some of the alternative options, this is to be expected as it is only the best Yamaha digital piano option if you want something small that can be powered with batteries.
The keys are touch-sensitive, but they are not GHS keys and don’t have the same quality AWM stereo sampling that we’ve come to love with a lot of the other models.
That said, there is still loads to like. The NP12 comes with a controller app made by Yamaha, this only works with iOS, but it gives a lot of controls, easy and fast navigation to see what you are able to do with your piano. The USB-MIDI compatibility is in place, meaning you can also use it as a MIDI controller keyboard if you wish. There is even an inbuilt recording function.
It is battery powered, you can use either AA batteries or you can use a power adapter, but be warned that this keyboard eats through batteries very quickly.
If you are not worried about having a big digital piano to use then you can go for this, the NP12 from Yamaha are a bit more of a keyboard than being Yamaha digital pianos, but they are still good options for people who are looking to get started or want something they can take out and about. Battery power could be a big bonus for some users.
As you can see from our list of the best Yamaha digital pianos (and keyboard options) there is a lot of difference between some of these models. It is vital that you work out what you want from a Yamaha keyboard or digital piano before you buy a piano, electric, or acoustic!
We named the Yamaha YDP184R as the best Yamaha overall, but this is definitely not ideal for everyone. It has an amazing feeling keyboard and some good tech features, but won’t be easy to take from place to place. If you need portability then an option such as the P71 will offer far more flexibility as it is lighter and easier to take to a gig.